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Ohhh – So NOW It’s Torture

It’s annoying to me now to read every time it’s discussed in the press or in Congress that it simulates the feeling of drowning. It doesn’t simulate the feeling of drowning. You are being drowned – slowly.”

Is the he who spoke the above words, a former supporter of the Iraq war which he still supports and the methods used to extract information from those we’re ‘going after’ to “defeat the enemy” as George Bush so glibly tosses out, serious? So that ‘he’ took on a challenge from his editor-in-chief and decided to be undergo ‘simulated drowning.’ And here’s the video of Christopher Hitchens almost drowning.  He writes about the experience in the August issue of Vanity Fair.

Then check this shit out!

Bag Notes turned me on to the Chris Hitchens news.   There, a commenter, d, pointed out an article in the NYT regarding the training program Hitchens references in the video – SERE: Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. SERE was instituted following interrogation and torture of American prisoners during the Korean War by the communists. The Air Force conducted a study, performed by sociologist, Albert Biderman, who published the article in1957 aptly titled: “Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War.” [It’s 10 pages in length and in PDF form.]

The primary points of Biderman’s study in which the captors were interested: eliciting false confessions, and compliance.

Of the 235 Air Force men who were returned by the Chinese Communists
after the Korean Armistice-twvo years after, in the case of 15
of these men-about half had some direct personal experience with
Communist attempts to extort false confessions
. We know one airman
died during such an attempt. There may have been others.

Enclosed within Biderman’s report are two charts. Chart I (pg. 4) illustrates the “coercive methods” used by the Communists to elicit confessions, thus compliance. Chart II (pg. 9) lists the coupling of resistance and compliance responses by those who underwent torture by the Communists. However, it’s Chart I that’s the big-time focus here.

The military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 based an entire interrogation class on a chart showing the effects of “coercive management techniques” for possible use on prisoners, including “sleep deprivation,” “prolonged constraint,” and “exposure.”

What the trainers did not say, and may not have known,* was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.

The recycled chart is the latest and most vivid evidence of the way Communist interrogation methods that the United States long described as torture became the basis for interrogations both by the military at the base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and by the Central Intelligence

* The only change made in the chart presented at Guantánamo was to drop its original title: “Communist Coercive Methods for Eliciting Individual Compliance.” …..The sessions included “an in-depth class on Biderman’s Principles,” the message said, referring to the chart from Mr. Biderman’s 1957 article.

So here we have the interrogation tactics being used at Guantanamo – and God-knows-where else – those very tactics that were used to elicit false confessions! There is no al-Qaeda. It’s all just a fucking ruse.

The Senate Armed Services Committee was privy to all this information in mid-June.

Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said after reviewing the 1957 article that “every American would be shocked” by the origin of the training document.

“What makes this document doubly stunning is that these were techniques to get false confessions,” Mr. Levin said. “People say we need intelligence, and we do. But we don’t need false intelligence.”

So Carl wasn’t too pleased, eh? And just what do you think might come out of this?

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